n an age in which customized yoga tutorials and cooking classes can be accessed via online subscription, why should education be any different? eCornell, Cornell University's online program, is now offering WebSeries, a monthly subscription education program along the lines of other popular learning channels.
WebSeries is the newest addition to eCornell's online content. eCornell, which provides more than 30 online programs and certificates, is designed to reach a wider audience than just its traditionally-enrolled students. WebSeries was developed to provide working professionals around the globe with content designed and delivered by Cornell University faculty.
The new program provides subscribers with live and recorded one-hour online events. Events include presentations, interactive discussions, and live Q & A's. All content is delivered by either Cornell faculty or industry experts. Unlike other classes at Cornell, WebSeries is open to anyone willing to pay for it. In other words, there is no application process.
According to Paul Krause, CEO of eCornell and associate vice provost of online learning at Cornell, the content is targeted for working professionals who "want to stay informed on the latest research." In a recent article by The Cornell Daily Sun, he described the service as providing an "easy, bite-sized sampler of experts and topics." It is a service that supports the idea of "lifelong learning."
"The best attribute of the series for a participant is hearing from Cornell faculty about their latest research and how this can be applied," Krause told The Cornell Daily Sun. "For Cornell departments and faculty the best attribute is [having] access to a turn-key infrastructure and relatively easy way to launch online programs that interest their target stakeholders outside of Ithaca."
The series, which launched its first episode in February, currently offers three channels: Entrepreneurship, Human Resources, and Women in Leadership. In coming months, eCornell will add several other channels including Hospitality, Leadership, and Marketing.
Mona Anita Olsen, an assistant professor in the School of Hotel Administration, told The Cornell Daily Sun about an online lecture for the Entrepreneurship channel she gave in March. In the lecture, she discussed a Hotel School program called The Pillsbury Institute, designed to help undergraduate and graduate students develop entrepreneurial skills. Olsen, a consumer of online education herself, said the WebSeries allowed her to "reach a different entrepreneurship market" and "further connect the globe through education."
According to Cornell faculty, this seems to be one of the primary goals for the program: to connect to a wider professional market. Furthermore, subscribers can earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Cornell University and connect directly with Cornell professors and other professionals on a global level. Although webinars are recorded live, subscribers can access archived lectures and access downloadable tools, as well as find new content monthly. "We're excited to connect people around the world to useful and relevant insights from Cornell faculty in a new online format that truly supports lifelong learning," Krause said.
Anyone who is willing to pay the $39 monthly subscription fee (or $279 annually) can access the content. For those who are interested but not ready to commit the money, eCornell is offering a 30-day free trial.